Integrated Architecture streamlines cable manufacturing in Spain

  • February 04, 2012
  • Case Study

The manufacture of cables and conductors requires rigorous programming systems to allow optimal flexibility and productivity - this is the only recipe that will let companies in this sector offer products that respond to an  increasingly demanding market. Therefore, a rigorous industrial automation system is vital. Systems’ traits and features change constantly and, therefore, the only way to reach the required level of flexibility and ergonomics was through integrated automation. For example, it would be unthinkable to install a machine, no matter how small, without a color touchscreen capable of showing all information from every part of the equipment. For all these reasons, the customer worked closely with Rockwell Automation, a world leader in industrial automation and information systems. Challenges The customer’s parts manufacturing unit is built around an in-house production centre that works closely with a group of outside suppliers. This mixed structure helps the fulfillment of delivery terms for critical parts and provides greater flexibility to adapt to demand fluctuations. At the same time, parts assembly is performed entirely in-house to meet the final product’s quality compliance requirements. This production system requires strong coordination among all processes and highly integrated components to streamline implementation. Another challenge was to replace the DC motors with modern, more efficient AC units that require less maintenance, while preserving the machine’s level of performance. Solution Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture is a complete automation platform that provides scalable solutions for a whole range of industrial applications.  Integrated Architecture product technology offers various tools to streamline the design and implementation of any industrial installation. These tools include:

  • A multi-discipline controller that can effectively implement control strategies needed for the machine.
  • Tag-based control architecture for greater information efficiency.
  • Ability to connect the devices through a single communications network with real-time response capability and access to parameters.
  • Development and implementation through one software program with the capability to reuse existing code.

First, the customer set up a double-twist buncher using Allen-Bradley CompactLogix PLCs connected to PanelView Plus operator terminals via EtherNet/IP to diagnose the machine’s status, which in turn was connected to the Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 700S drives that replaced the DC drives. Subsequently, they set up a rigid strander. Since this has more sophisticated control needs, they chose an Allen-Bradley ControlLogix processor. Both controllers are part of the Logix family, which meant the whole program could be reused and the development time was shortened. Results Implementation of both machines went smoothly thanks to the easier integration offered by Integrated Architecture. This clearly highlights the difference with this solution developed by Rockwell Automation compared to others. The manager of Electronic R&D at the customer praised the added value that this flexibility provides:  “The control architecture components are incredibly well integrated compared to other brands we’ve used”, he continues, “We’ve seen a notable reduction in engineering time, both in programming and implementation”. The customer was impressed with how quickly they were able to implement the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture solution, and the assistance they received from Rockwell Automation staff.  “We received first-rate support from the Rockwell Automation technical team. This allowed us to optimize the new production systems quickly, even though we knew virtually nothing about the system when we first started.” Another great advantage of the Logix control platform from Rockwell Automation is the considerable reduction of errors in the production system, particularly in the implementation phase. Thanks to simple, yet powerful programming languages, especially the Sequential Function Charts (SFCs), our technicians were able to control the new system quickly and more effectively.  

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